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Oakland Raiders Player Gareon Conley Sues Woman Who Accused Him of Rape
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Gareon Conley. Photo courtesy of the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Summary: A football player sued a woman who accused him of rape, saying that her false allegation ruined his reputation and cost him millions. 

Oakland Raiders cornerback Gareon Conley was accused by a woman of sexual assault, and the damning claim resulted in him losing endorsements and his spot in the first round of the 2017 NFL draft. In turn, Conley sued his accuser, and the case is being heard before Judge Joseph Russo of the Cuyahoga County (Ohio) Common Pleas Court.

  
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On April 9, 2017, a 23-year-old student, Brooke Puscian, told Cleveland police that she was raped in a hotel room at the Westin Cleveland Downtown hotel. According to Sports Illustrated, she described her rapist’s appearance and said he had an Ohio State tattoo on his arm.

Hours before, Puscian was dining at Barley House, a restaurant near her hotel, and Conley had also been dining there separately. Conley’s legal team insist the pair had first spoken at the restaurant and Puscian had learned the football player had been drafted into the NFL.

Conley’s lawyers, John Camillus and Kevin Spellacy, said that the football player walked Puscian and her friends from the restaurant to the Westin with the intention of staying the night. Sports Illustrated said that the accounts differed next.

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Puscian said that she met Conley after the football player had approached her while she was in the hotel lobby. Conley’s lawyers said that Puscian was incorrect about when they had first spoken. Puscian said that Conley asked her to get drinks with him in his room, and it appeared that both stories confirmed Puscian went to Conley’s room alone.

Puscian said that once in the room she saw two other people there, a man and a woman, and Conley asked if she wanted to have a foursome. Puscian declined but offered to watch the man and woman have sex. She claimed this was to avoid sleeping with Conley.



Puscian said that as she walked to the bathroom, Conley grabbed her and unbuttoned her pants. She said he pulled her pants down and forced her to have sex while she said, “No stop. It hurts!” After sex, Conley instructed Puscian to leave, she said.

Conley’s account was different than his accuser’s. Conley said that Puscian requested he join her in watching the couple have sex in the bathroom and that he had refused. He said she walked towards the bathroom and took off her pants and bent over, inviting him to have sex with her. Conley said he declined and Puscian got embarassed. He said he asked her to leave and she seemed to be even more humiliated by the encounter.

Later that evening, Puscian called the police and was admitted to a local hospital where she had a rape kit performed on her. The police entered Conley’s room, and he stressed that he had never touched Puscian and that she was angry he had kicked her out.

Days later, TMZ reported the rape allegation and Conley’s reputation was ruined. His representatives had arranged for him to take a lie detector, and even though he had passed,  he was no longer a first round draft pick, instead ending up the Raiders’ number 24 pick. The downgrade of when he was picked cost him about $3 million.

In July 2017, a grand jury declined to indict Conley on the grounds of not finding probable cause, but although he escaped criminal charges, he was open to a civil lawsuit. On April 6, 2018, Puscian sued Conley and 11 defendants, including the Westin Cleveland, for assault, battery, false imprisonment and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Faced with the lawsuit, Conley countersued instead of settled.

Sports Illustrated noted that many people settle to avoid the litigation process, and Conley’s countersuit presents the risk of pretrial discovery. During this process, depositions are taken and evidence is shared. Embarassing information can surface.  But despite this, Conley wanted to move forward and prove his innocence.

On July 2, 2018, Conley sued his accuser for malicious prosecution and for frivolous conduct in filing her claim. He did not sue for defamation, but instead, he focused on her litigation which he said was pursued with intention of hurting him after he rejected her.

“Conley winning a lawsuit and being awarded damages doesn’t mean he would actually be paid. It’s unknown if Puscian has the financial wherewithal to pay a sizable judgment. For Conley, pursuing a case is likely more about restoring his reputation than it is securing a large amount of money from the person he contends falsely accused him,” Sports Illustrated said. “More likely, Conley and Puscian will resolve their dispute out of court in a settlement. The chances of them going to trial are fairly slim.”

What do you think of Gareon Conley? Let us know in the comments below.



 

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